Honoring 1,022 years of service — and more

November 27, 2023

At the Chancellor’s Staff Recognition Awards ceremony, the campus community shared a meal, camaraderie and thanks for a job well done.

Photo of the audience at the Chancellor's Staff Recognition Awards

The Chancellor’s Staff Recognition Awards honors the work staff members do on UM-Dearborn’s campus every day like advising students, prepping labs, mowing lawns, advancing technology and more.

Welcoming the audience of more than 150 to the Nov. 8 staff award breakfast, Chancellor Domenico Grasso applauded the dedication of campus’ employees. “Our staff serves as the backbone of our great university,” he said. “You are central to our operations and make our campus work, not just for our students, but for faculty, as well. We could not create the excellent learning and teaching environment we have without you.”

Grasso said the average number of years of service for UM-Dearborn staff attending the event was 10 years. To show how impressive this number is, he compared it to The Bureau of Labor Statistics 2022 report that said the median number of years wage and salary workers stay with their current employer is 4.1 years. 

Grasso also said the 2023 UM-Dearborn milestone anniversaries totaled 1,022 years, with individuals celebrating up to four decades on campus. “What you do helps to transform the lives of our students, and all of our staff should be proud of the support they provide, empowering those attending UM-Dearborn to make the most from their time here,” he said.

Counseling and Psychological Services Director Sara Byczek, who was a featured speaker at the event, echoed Grasso's message about the staff's dedication to students when she shared information about mental health services available on campus. "CAPS is here to help staff and faculty in their endeavors to support students' mental health," Byczek said to the audience. "We appreciate the work you do." 

In addition to the milestones — which are listed below — five awards honored people or teams that went above and beyond UM-Dearborn’s mission. Chancellor’s Staff Recognition Awards co-chair Linda Jacoby, Institutional Advancement business director, said the selection committee received 24 nominations.

“It is always extremely difficult for the committee to select the award recipient from such strong candidates,” Jacoby said. “Congratulations to all of our nominees and thank you to their nominators.”

Here are the 2023 award winners.

Photo of the 2023 CSRA winners
Chancellor Grasso, far right, stands with the 2023 award winners. They are, from left, Robin Wagner, Jocelyn Young Huinder, Kelsey Parker, Ryan Neloms, Tahnee Prokopow and Noel Hornbacher. Dawn Roult is not pictured.

Dearborn Victors Award
Winner: Ryan Neloms

New this year, the Dearborn Victor Award recognizes actions that personify diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and who positively impacts the lives of others on campus.

Here’s what a nominator had to say:
“His compassionate approach has helped calm many students who are struggling with a host of different issues. He is always willing to go the extra mile to help students receive the resources and support they need to be successful and does so with respect and awareness of the different backgrounds of our students. Engaging with students who are often distressed can easily take a toll on anyone. Still, Ryan's positive attitude and commitment to students' success are evident, as he never backs away from being fully present and going the extra mile.”

Advancing the Mission
Winner: The Financial Services Leadership team members Noel Hornbacher, Dawn Roult, and Robin Wagner

Here’s an excerpt from the nomination:
“With a decentralized financial model, it is a challenging task to find strategies that work for all colleges and units. And yet, Noel, Dawn, and Robin continually look for ways to guide decisions in light of our campus strategic priorities. More than that, ‘the three’ really care about the campus culture and understand that while we have to budget responsibly, we must also think about the human beings impacted by financial decisions.”

Winner: Kelsey Parker, Experience+ project manager for experiential learning

To quote excerpts from the nomination:
“Kelsey devised engaging and innovative ideas for the Graduate Summer Writing Camp, having us host it in the EIC, making trail maps and supplying s’mores and camp T-shirts to the primarily international students who had yet to have a camping experience. She was vital in proposing and convening the first ‘Student Employment Advisory Council,’ comprised of unit leaders who employ many student employees. It’s typical of Kelsey, taking what is established and time-honored and rethinking it to make it more accessible, inclusive and fun.”

Staff Development
Winner: Jocelyn Young Huinder, software training and documentation coordinator

Here’s what a nominator said:
“She was proactive in her approach…and instead of waiting until staff were struggling with technology, she went ahead unprompted and coordinated an hour-long recorded training session for users to attend. Her ability to facilitate collaboration and communication among different teams has been instrumental in streamlining the process, ensuring that software is effectively utilized to support student success.”

Student Success
Winner: Tahnee Prokopow, health professions advising director

To quote an excerpt from her nomination:
“Tahnee has a unique ability to challenge students to become the best versions of themselves so that when they apply to health professional schools, they are prepared and at an advanced level compared to other applicants.”

Here are the staff service milestone honorees.

2023 5-year service award milestone

5-year milestone anniversary

Louis Blouin, Andy Dean, Michael DeVoe, Karen Dimanche Davis, Chancellor Domenico Grasso, Brian Hoang, Christine Homan, Jessica Johnson Jackie Kortes, Brian LaGoe, Francisco Lopez, McKenna Maurino, Andrea McDaniel, Aijalon McLittle, Rick Morrone, Blythe Murphy, Faith Olson, Latresa Rice, Celia Robinson, Ethan Savage, Shawn Simone, Homer Stone, Kyle Sutherland, Paul Tadajewski, Kamal Turner, Nathan Wallace, Charles Wang and Jerrard Wheeler

10 year employees

10-year milestone anniversary

Marc Brigolin, Danielle Camardese, Elizabeth Clark, Jason Crofton, Kaitlin Deslatte, Cris Frendo, Christopher Haltinner, Nina Loveberry, Molly Manley, Dawn Roult, Brittnie Smith, Matthew Speck, Jesse Stanghini, Thomas Stockwell and Nikki Wasilius


15 year employees

15-year milestone anniversary

Deidra Berry, Sarah Dorchak, Susanne Gassel, Ellen Judge-Gonzalez, Barbara McLaughlin, Lisa Miller, Kelly Schester, Howard Williams, Steve Williams and Joey Woods


20 year employees

20-year milestone anniversary

Kenneth Byrd, Terry Ebenhoeh, Michael Kamen, Wonsuk Kim, Corey Lambert, Larry Papin and Judith Walker


25 years of service employees

25-year milestone anniversary

Madeline Snipes Derrick, Caryn Finkelstein, Susan Flannery, Noel Hornbacher and Scott Howard


30 years of service employees

30-year milestone anniversary

Sherri Frost and Giannina Wilson


35 years of service employees

35-year milestone anniversary

Julie Dunckel and Soraya Jeffries Patton


40 years of service

40-year milestone anniversary

Marlene Dupre, Geoffrey Hosker, Robert St. Clair, Greg Taylor and Melisa Wilson


Event co-chairs were Linda Jacoby, Shari Marshall and Rachel Buzzeo. Additional committee members included Nada Bachir, Mary Jones, Kari Kowalski, Nina Loveberry, Molly McCutchan, Kelsey Parker, Celia Robinson, Erin Vickey, event consultant Sheryl Kubiak and chancellor liaison Jackie Kortes.